We all need a little help once in a while. At Pickens Technical College, the staff and faculty are all here to help you find a job after you learn everything you can about your dream career and graduate. Learning how to be a medical assistant does you no good if you can’t find a position when you leave PTC’s halls. Luckily, there are plenty of resources and experienced career advisors to help students with their lives post-PTC. I contacted Gill Thompson, PTC Career Services Coordinator, and asked him a few questions about how he and the rest of the PTC Career Services staff help students get jobs after earning their certificates at PTC in any field.
What are a few things that all students can do while they’re still in class at PTC to make sure they find a good job after graduation?
Thompson: All students should utilize our online job board called the College Central Network. There are usually over 150+ jobs posted ranging from all industries and full time and [part] time jobs. They may be able to get a job in their chosen industry before they graduate! They should also participate [in] our Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO’s) because they provide leadership and community service opportunities; this looks really good to employers. A student should also start building resumes when school starts and not wait until the end of the school year. If they start working on their resumes early, they produce a much more professional document. Having a resume will also prepare them for the annual Employment Fair; where [we] will have over 40 companies in attendance looking to hire students. Lastly, research, research, research; they should research industries and companies because this will help them find a good company in an industry they can excel in.
What’s the most common question you get asked by students on a regular basis?
Thompson: “Can you help me get a job?” My answer is always, “YES”! But then I follow that up with I can provide you with resources, tools, and job leads, but YOU have to go out and get the job. I help with resumes, cover letters, interviews, LinkedIn profiles, and anything else I can do to help them. It ultimately comes down to how much work the student is willing to do on their own. Students who take looking for a job seriously get the best jobs. Students who expect me to do the work for them, usually stay unemployed because they take no responsibility in the process.
Do you frequently come across any misconceptions about finding work after graduation that you’d like to put to rest?
Thompson: First and foremost, when looking for a job, you have to treat it like it is your job. In other words, finding a job is a full-time job.
Second, it is much easier to find a job when you already have a job. For some reason, people who are out of work come off as desperate, and this shows in interviews. If you have a job, you seem much more relaxed when job hunting and this shows in the interview.
My strongest point is: nobody is going to hand you your dream job! You have to go out and get it and the only way that will happen is by “working hard!” In the workforce, there is no such thing as “getting lucky”, however, you can create your own “good luck” by working hard. If you work hard, people notice, and then the “good luck” finds you, because you earned it by working hard. Along those same lines, you have to start entry-level, and IF you work hard, then you can move up in an industry and company. If you constantly get passed up on promotions, if you never get a raise, it may not be the [boss’s] fault. Most likely, it is your fault, and your (bad) work habits are the reason you get passed up on promotions and raises.
Gill Thompson has been working with PTC students for years getting them jobs in their chosen fields. The best thing you can do when you’re studying your craft there is give him a visit to talk about your future after graduation.